Where should I camp in New England?
July 17, 2006 8:57 AM   Subscribe

I live in Western Massachusetts and I'd like to go camping for a few days in the middle of the week in the beginning of August, perhaps somewhere in Maine. Requirements include proximity to the beach, scenic biking, and ...

I'm going to be traveling by myself. I'd love to be somewhere somewhat secluded, but I'm definitely a car camper. I'd love to be somewhere where I can bike along the oceanfront, have a campfire, and then go out at night to enjoy a restaurant and some bars.

I'm thinking that my best bet might be somewhere along the Maine coast. Looking at previous AskMe threads, I'm sure that Acadia National Park is going to come up over and over again. Considering that it's an 8 hour drive for me, I'm wondering if I could get myself somewhere else that could offer the kind of nightlife, fun, and relaxation that I'm looking for. I'm not opposed to going North into Vermont or Canada if there's a large enough lake that could satisfy my need to be near water and a town that can feed me and provide some social opportunity. However, I'm not interested in Burlington.

If Acadia really is my spot, then do you have any specific advice about where I should camp and imbibe? Idealy I'd like my tent to be an easy bike ride from the center of town. Also, looking at google maps I find it hard to believe that this is the best route. Can someone suggest something quicker?

(Bonus Question: if I keep my food in my car is it safe from bears?)
posted by TurkishGolds to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Orchard Beach might be a good possibility. I hear there are walking/biking trails to and from town.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 10:54 AM on July 17, 2006

Old Orchard Beach (not Orchard Beach) is your typical built-up tacky tourist trap town of the variety found all up and down the Eastern Seaboard, populated with French Canadian tourists, bikers, and other assorted "interesting" people. Not my idea of a nature camping destination.

Bradbury Mountain is not too far from the coast (short drive to Freeport or Brunswick, slightly longer drive to Portland). No beachfront, but there's not much beachfront in Maine that isn't spoken for.

If you want to drive a bit further up the coast, but not quite as far as Acadia, try Camden Hills, which is incredibly scenic. Again, no beach, but you're quite close to one of the nicest parts of the whole Maine coast.
posted by briank at 11:49 AM on July 17, 2006

if you want to swim in maine, do it in a lake. i'd recommend great pond, in the belgrade lakes region.

as for your bonus question: yes, the car will most likely keep your food from bears and general varmits. just make sure you don't have any in your tent. and this includes food trash and cooking utensils. probably not a problem in maine, but i've been told that bears in the southwest us will actually go for water bottles.
posted by lester at 1:18 PM on July 17, 2006

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